Sunday, 30 September 2018

SPG/Marriott sweetspot redemption in Bangkok

I have to be honest with you. I'm slightly proud of myself, because I finally managed to get some value out of my hotel points. I'm used to the revenue based Accor hotels program, where you just earn a 7,5% effective cashback if you're a gold member. My first adventure with Marriott points started with a 4 nights stay in Lisbon, which earned me 6,744 points - no idea of their value back then.

Then I ventured on transferring my newly earned 21,000 American Express points to my SPG account, under the completely false assumption that those points would be turned into 3 times that number of Marriott points because of the merger of SPG and Marriott. Because that only happened with 'old' SPG points prior to August. So then I was stuck with 27,744 Marriott reward points - still no idea of their value.

I started searching for redemption options in Bristol, where we'll visit the Bristol balloon festival next year. Yes, there was a redemption option which seemed to be attractive, translation a single Saturday night stay of some 144 GBP into 25,000 Marriott points. But when I took a closer look, a three night stay (and that would be the actual length of the stay) was available for approximately 300 GBP, so 100 GBP per night, getting value essentially back to the original American Express cash value.

And then, finally, I thought of the Bangkok option. Luxury hotels for generally reasonable prices, what would be on offer there? So I used the SPG reward search and found some three hotels offering 12,500 points per night redemptions. One of them is for the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers, a 5 star property selling its rooms for approximately 127 EUR per night (no breakfast, cancellation allowed).

So 25,000 points translate into 254 EUR of 'value' in this case, a 150% increase to the original value of the AMEX points (20,000 points for 80 EUR of cash value). Now I'm quite sure that a real travel hacker could find much better deals, but I'm quite happy with the actual cost reduction on our trip to the far east, which we will end by this two night stay in Bangkok.

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